Words of Love Spoken … Absurdly

by Joe Buonfiglio

At the time of this writing, it is the welcomed, the beloved, and the dreaded, the feared Valentine’s Day! For some, it is a time of expressing undying devotion to the one who most pulls the heartstrings in your life. For others, it is a lonely barstool moment reminding you that this person has been lost, has not yet been found or may never exist.

All in all, as holidays go, Valentine’s Day is a bit of a mixed bag on a societal level, emotionally speaking.

So because the Holy Roman Catholic Church makes some guy all hoity-toity in its own version of a Hall of Fame (although, it is uncertain whether St. Valentine was one individual or a pseudonym for several), greeting card companies find yet another excuse to guilt us into buying their cheesy products and the military-floral industrial complex conspires to funnel our hard-earned cash from our wallets into the latest in stealth killing machines by jacking the cost of roses up so high that we must decide between expressing our love to a significant other or sending our kid to college for another year. It’s fucking absurd … and that finally brings me to the point of this week’s diatribe.

As a self-diagnosed “Literary Absurdist,” I was most curious: What do some of the greatest Absurdists in history have to say on the subject of LOVE?

ALBERT CAMUS: Some people consider French philosopher, author and journalist Albert Camus (1913-1960) to be the father of modern Absurdism. And while he tended to speak more on life than love specifically, these little tidbits relate to the subject of love quite well if you think about it … and, in some cases, read between the lines:

“How unbearable, for women, is the tenderness which a man can give them without love. For men, how bittersweet this is.”

“Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.”

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”

“Love is the kind of illness that does not spare the intelligent or the dull.”

“We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love – first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.”

— Albert Camus


Another many often attribute with significant contribution to the Absurdism movement is Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Kierkegaard is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher, so his views on love are, well, a bit like this:

“Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see.”

“Don’t forget to love yourself.”

“Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all.”

“Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself.”

— Søren Kierkegaard


German-speaking Bohemian Jewish novelist and short story writer Franz Kafka (1833-1924), beloved by Absurdists everywhere as the author of The Metamorphosis, had an interesting take on the subject of love:

“Love is a drama of contradictions.”

“I can love only what I can place so high above me that I cannot reach it.”

“I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough.”

“You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.”

” Love is, that you are the knife which I plunge into myself.”

— Franz Kafka


The prominent Spanish surrealist and artist Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) is revered by the Absurdist for best being able to bring absurd philosophy to life within the visual arts. His view on love reflects this well:

“For me, love must be ugly, looks must be divine and death must be beautiful.”

“The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.”

— Salvador Dalí


Absurdist fiction tends to make use of literary devices such as dark humor, irrationality, escapism and satire to delve into the meaninglessness, even nihilistic surreality of the human experience of incompleteness or meaninglessness. There are few who mastered this craft better than author Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007). Here are some of Vonnegut’s thoughts on the subject of love:

“Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.”

“It took us that long to realize that a purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

“There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.”

— Kurt Vonnegut


So now, I shall leave you within the context of this absurd celebration of love by quoting the author best known for creating the Absurdist’s Bible (and one of the main reasons why I got into the Absurdist literature game), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Mister Douglas Adams (1952–2001). And while he was not referring to love directly, I believe his subconscious knew EXACTLY what is was doing, for they are the two key tenets — No, key LAWS, actually. — to a successful mastery of love within the context of relationships:

“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”


— Douglas Adams

As surreal, mystical, baffling, confusing and utterly ABSURD as it can all seem, love will find a way.


 WILL find.

A way.


© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.



by Joe Buonfiglio

Absurdism has entered the Space Age … and I couldn’t be happier.

At the time of this writing, there is a $100,000 cherry-red Tesla Roadster automobile with an “astronaut” mannequin called “Starman” dressed in an official SpaceX space suit at the wheel, David Bowie’s Space Oddity blasting in a perpetual loop on the car’s stereo, and with “DON’T PANIC” on the electric car’s navi screen as a homage to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as a message on its circuit board reading, “Made on Earth by humans” heading toward Mars. It is the personal vehicle of billionaire Elon Musk: the founder, CEO and lead designer of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla.; co-chairman of OpenAI; founder and CEO of Neuralink; and founder of The Boring Company.

After being launched into space by SpaceX’s “Falcon Heavy” rocket, the Tesla spent about six hours orbiting Earth, and then continued on its approximately 6-month journey to Mars.

Unfortunately, it looks as if it will overshoot Mars’ orbit … and wind up … in an asteroid belt; poor ultra-expensive midlife-crisis car.

This is a magnificent feat of aerospace engineering.

This is a magnificent feat of Absurdism engineering.

In the modern era, Elon Musk is truly the Absurdist’s friend.

When Elon Musk dies, not only will all the great space pioneers who have passed welcome him into Heaven with open arms, so will Albert Camus … and Søren Kierkegaard … and Salvador Dali … and Franz Kafka … and Douglas Adams.

… especially Douglas Adams.

So for Absurdists everywhere, THANK YOU Elon Musk, THANK YOU Tesla, THANK YOU dummy-astronaut Starman, THANK YOU David Bowie, THANK YOU Douglas Adams, THANK YOU SpaceX and your new Falcon Heavy rocket, THAN—

You know, ironically, “Falcon Heavy” is my little pet name for my willy.

Sorry, I—

Just … sorry.

And remember…

Enjoy the

Story © 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

Space video and picture courtesy of SpaceX

“DON’T PANIC” sign courtesy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Funny Thing About Death Is…

by Joe Buonfiglio

Death. The Big D. The last stop on the line. The final breath. The last car ride to the grave. The Grim Reaper’s Funhouse.


I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. When you reach that point where there are more days behind you than in front of you, you start to imagine that long, black hearse making its way to—

Wait a minute. The Grim Reaper’s Funhouse?

Yeah. See, the funny thing about death is … well … death is a funny thing. I’m quite sure that as the Titanic was gurgling under the icy waters for the last time, at least one passenger was laughing his or her ass off thinking, “I saved up for this highfalutin trip for years. Saving my money and opting for yet another vacation featuring warm beer and greasy sausage sandwiches on Coney Island with my mother-in-law is looking pretty damn good right about now.”

As Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is oft quoted, “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

The Grim Reaper knows that death is funny. Why do you think he enjoys his work so much, the uniform?

I’ve always been that guy at the back of a funeral “viewing” laughing so loudly as to drown out the widows’ cries of lament.

How can I laugh like that at such a somber moment?

How can you not?!

Here is this poor fat bastard who waddled around his whole life shoving doughnuts and cheeseburgers down his throat — cheeseburgers with a doughnut-bun when he’d go to the state fair — he has a heart attack, is rushed to the emergency room where he’s saved in the proverbial nick of time, swears to himself, his family and anyone who cares or will even listen that he has learned his lesson and is turning a new leaf, and then chokes to death on what passes for roughage at the local salad bar on the very day he’s released from the hospital. I’m supposed to hear that story and NOT laugh as his doughy body oozes into every crevice of his casket at the wake just because some people don’t get the divine comedy aspect of The Divine Comedy?

Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso? That’s NOT a joke? Are you kidding me? Give me the Seven Deadly Sins any day.

You’re probably one of those “art is profoundly serious” types who didn’t find Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman hilarious either. Come on, will ya’? Who amongst us wouldn’t enjoy seeing a self-deluded salesman kill himself? If Miller could just have made Death of the Annoying Jehovah’s Witness Who Won’t Stop Ringing My Doorbell Every Wednesday Right When I Put My First Bite of Dinner in My Mouth instead, THAT would be comedy gold.

Too soon?

You know Death of a Salesman came out in 1949, right? And that the Titanic sank in 1912?

I’m not sure when the Krispy Kreme “doughnut burger” was first introduced to state fairs.

Look, humans are the only species FULLY aware that their death is inevitable LOOOOOOONG before the actual event. All-you-can-eat Chinese buffets and religion and laws and television and YouTube and pornography and French fries and college roommates with a seemingly limitless supply of kine bud and the NFL and Las Vegas and your Uncle Fred’s “pull my finger” joke and most of the rest of the both mindful and mindless shit we encounter as we slide down the mortal coil is all — ALL — designed to distract us from the fact that at any minute it could our metaphoric door that scythe-carrying son of a bitch could be knocking on. And if you don’t see the humor in the realization that it’s all a big nothing wrapped in the randomness of the cosmic soiled underwear of the universe, I feel sorry for you.

I, for one, intend to step into this chaotic clown car we affectionately call life and gun it toward the cliff like Thelma & Louise saying, “Fuck it. I’m having a bad hair day anyway.”

While quoting Woody Allen these days might be “Me Too!” suicide, you gotta admit he was spot-on when he said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”


© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All photos are © 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.



by Joe Buonfiglio

I wanted this week’s blog post to be wonderful; simply wonderful. It should be absurd, yet humorous. It should achieve relevancy without becoming overwhelmingly preachy. Throw in a few epigrams worthy of both Will Rogers and Mark Twain, and then I’d be able to claim attainment of artistic nirvana; literary bliss. These thoughts took up residence in my cerebrum as I went to bed last night.

The morning, however, dawned with a plan of its own: THE FLU!

And thus, as I continuously exude a cascading stream of snot, endure an ever-pooling collection of phlegm, as well as suffer the gathering storm of other ungodly fluids from bodily orifices that went delightfully disregarded until this viral incursion; posting online with literary excellence is not exactly on my mind today. This is why I—

Sorry. Had to ride the porcelain pony for a minute there.

Where was I?

Oh. Right. So as to not leave you all completely unrequited in the love of Literary Absurdism department this week, here is a little haiku dedicated to my bout of influenza that I — in all honesty and with deference to full disclosure — threw together while engaging in a command performance on the commode; my “Flu-ku,” if you will.

Joe Buonfiglio’s

Joe wanted to blog.
But the flu was too cruel.
Much diarrhea.

See you next week.  Until then, stay hydrated.


© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.



by Joe Buonfiglio

Today I got up off the toilet, pulled up my pants, and only then realized that I had not yet wiped my ass. While that is unquestionably gross to the point that I would not blame you if you immediately stopped reading this absurd little e-commentary, I use it to drive home a critically salient point of this story:

Either I am displaying the symptomatic signs of early-onset dementia, OR I still view a “snow day” with the wide-eyed wonder of a child; a youthful excitement that distracts me from all manner of grown-up responsibility to the point of acting as if a kitten with a shiny object dangled in front of it. And that brings me to this….

This is a picture of what my family affectionately refers to as “Mister Bunny.” Mister Bunny is a metal rabbit procured for some reason that escapes me to this day. It represents a tapestry of emotional joy and budgetary irresponsibility that embroiled my wife and I within a rapturous moment of atypical domesticity as we got caught up in the excitement of purchasing our current home many years ago. Over time, Mister Bunny has become my internal voice of rationality, a mechanism for a sort of grounding in a brain wired not just for notions of fantasy within a writer’s imagination, but for surrealistic viewpoints of chaotic extremes. I am someone who makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the “real world,” but feels as if God within the absurd landscape of make-believe. And when I disappear into Joeland, it is often the voice in my head of a steel cottontail that brings me back to a place of societal normality; thus, I can again realize that I have to deal with the fact that there is no food in the house (so it’s probably a good idea to go to the grocery store), that I need to get off my backside and pay the electric bill (or they’ll probably be shutting off the power soon), and that I should not endeavor to dine on fast food for my twenty-seventh lunch break in a row (lest I invite Type II Diabetes to become my life partner).

Mister Bunny speaks truth to psychosis.

So as I go out this day into the snow to play as if a schoolboy who has just been told the bus will not be able to make it to his stop today, as I dress inappropriately for the weather somehow believing that the ghost of my mother will be waiting for me inside with a cup of hot cocoa and mini-marshmallows just when I need it, it is the voice of Mister Bunny that screams out in my mind to reintroduce the concept of “adulthood” into my childishly self-indulgent pretend realm.

“Get the fuck inside!” he yells into my mind’s ear. “It’s freezing out here!”

I dutifully obey and drag myself through the wintery obstacles back to reality, for it is Mister Bunny who has commanded it be so. With sincere apologies to Tchaikovsky, any notion of Sugar Plum Fairies will have to wait.

So yes, today I shall write my blog. Later, I shall work on my book. Tomorrow, I will shovel my driveway.

My long, steep, oppressive driveway.

Thank you for being the voice of reason in my head, Mister Bunny. Thank you … … … and fuck you.


© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All photos are © 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.


by Joe Buonfiglio

It’s now well into January at the time I’m pounding out this little tale of woe on my worn keyboard. I’m not overeating Christmas cookies or German Stöllen or leftover stuffing. I’m not guzzling spiked eggnog or other holiday-inspired spirits. I’m not spending money waaaaaaaaaay beyond my means on the evil plastic tucked into my wallet as if a silent-night serial killer waiting to pounce on his unsuspecting victim. As with the proverbial old soldier, all the uncontrolled overindulgences of December seem to have merely faded away here in January.

What happened?

I mean, it’s still the same me, right? I’m still the same man with the horrible sweet tooth, an irrepressible lust for Yuletide libations and an inability to stick to any sort of budget whatsoever the moment the Christmas anthems flood the music systems of the malls and department stores alike.

So, what has changed?

Did the flip of the calendar suddenly make me a more responsible human being?

Not likely.

Could this be the moment along my personal timeline that I will actually stick to all those New Year’s resolutions for more than a couple weeks?

I doubt it.

Have I finally grown a conscience?

Puuuuuuuh-leeeeeeaze! Remember whom we’re talking about here.

But if none of those motivators are acting as a governor on my more out-of-control impulses, what is? What has changed to manifest my virtually overnight transformation?


The goddamn Christmas tree! It’s gone! By January, the tree engages in its annual disappearing act. If it’s fresh, it has been recycled. If it is artificial, as mine tends to be in no small part due to my myriad allergies, the thing has been bagged, tagged and lowered into the dark recesses of the basement for another year.

It is gone, GONE, GONE! And, unnaturally enough, this begs the question, “Was the tree psychically willing me to be … … … bad?

My God, has the truth been staring me in the face for years — for decades — and I chose to be willfully blind to it? Are Christmas trees demon seeds, government-industrial complex metaphoric Hellspawns sinisterly woven into our religious tapestry and planted into our homes to boost the economy via various forms of gluttonies? Did my true love give to me a supernatural evergreen with powers harnessed and weaponized by Hallmark and other members of the Elf Illuminati?

Sweet Lord, what have they done? What have I done?! My life? My family? Are we all just pawns in some insidious Game of Tannenbaum?



Tonight, after all have gently nestled beneath comfy covers to dream little dreams of warmer days, I shall sneak down into the basement and put an end to this madness. I shall grab the can of gas meant for the lawnmower in the garage and the long-stemmed matches that accompany the cigars I was gifted for Christmas, and I shall end it. For once and for all, I will put a stop to it.

While I will have a moment of fond memory for the joy this tree that not so long ago was adorned with a sea of colored lights and now boxed-up ornaments, I will nonetheless set it ablaze to save us all.

Onward, resolute and intrepid elf.

There. The terrible deed is done. No more shall this malicious holiday tree impose its supernatural influence over me, my family, the entirety of Humanity in its quest to— HOLY SHIT! HO-LY SHIT! WHY DIDN’T I TAKE IT OUTSIDE?! THE DAMN THING IS STILL IN MY BASEMENT!

CALL 9-1-1! CALL 9-1-1!



Damn it. Just



Damn it.


© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All photos are © 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.



by Joe Buonfiglio

Well, it was just a few scant nights ago that we all yelled “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” across booze-stained lips to foster the cliché that somehow the flipping of the calendar miraculously affords us some sort of sin-cleansing miracle whereby we start everything anew. Cloaked in a sanctimonious delusion of our own twisted self-help desires, we resolve to be better people, smarter people, thinner people simply because we watched some unseen entity lower a glowing orb down toward drunken revelers who start becoming obsessed with chronology about ten seconds before midnight. New year, new you blah-blah-blah ad nauseam.

The reality is that somewhere between a few hours to a few days to a few weeks into the inaugural launch of the new calendar, most of us feel the anchor of the old year being dragged right behind the new and everything in our newly minted little world goes to … well … shit.

We start downing the bagels and packing the weight back on again.

We start racing into work ten minutes late and sneaking out ten minutes early again.

We start smoking, drinking and getting stoned again.

We start self-loathing again.

We start cheating on our spouses again, racking up the credit-card debit again, being mean to our pets and even meaner to our kids again, and returning to a state of sitting on our asses mindlessly watching some inane crap on TV whilst launching potato-chip farts into the sofa as a temporary distraction from the mind-numbing tedium of existence.

Won’t at least a few of us finally jump out of an airplane or run with the bulls?

Of course. However, in an entire world awash with the sea of morbidity that comprises most of Humanity, you can probably fit ALL of those more intrepid souls onto the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, at the height of tourist season.

How can you tell them apart from the rest of we underachieving dysfunctional personalities?

They’ll be the ones NOT swilling beer and eating copious amounts of funnel cakes.

As for the rest of us, there’s always next year. Until then, pass that bucket of fried chicken and tell the boss I have the flu, because unadulterated binge-watching is my only reason to get out of bed this year.


© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

Seeking Absolution or Absurd Solutions?


by Joe Buonfiglio

Well, my friends, it appears that another year is about to tank and sink into the historical abyss. Another year gone. Another last-minute attempt to muster up some resolve to change my life as we usher Father Time out the back door and we all find ourselves simultaneously awestruck and dumbstruck by the prodigious amount of shit to hit the New Year’s Baby’s diaper right out of the gate. And even though I know damn well I shall never honor the aforementioned resolutions beyond the first week or two of January, I somehow still feel obligated to not abandon the only New Year’s tradition that doesn’t involve getting blotto on its eve and projectile-vomiting upon the stone-lion statue guarding the entrance of my fellow Italian neighbor’s driveway. So yes, I shall probably again promise myself to lose weight, be kinder to the other travelers of planet Earth trudging along the mortal coil and, of course, be a better man in light of the fact that my natural instinct perpetuated over the years leans more into the prick-curmudgeon camp; you know, that sort of thing.

Or will I?

Perhaps not.

Being the Absurdist and general lover of chaos that I am, here are my actual true-to-my-nature New Year’s resolutions for the coming flip of the calendar month….

#1) I RESOLVE TO smear my naked body with pumpkin filling and walk through the old shopping mall inviting people to sniff me at least once a week.

#2) I RESOLVE TO assassinate as many tires of BMW drivers who purposely take up two parking spaces to avoid scratches to their paint jobs as my personal time allows.

#3) I RESOLVE TO erupt in a massive outburst of uncontrollable flatulence whenever circumstance finds me in a crowded public elevator or patron-packed fast-food restaurant.

#4) I RESOLVE TO drive juuuuuuuuuuuuust slow enough in the fast lane to piss people off, but not so slow that they can lay into their horn and cuss me out without looking like a jerk to the passengers in their car.

#5) I RESOLVE TO repeatedly call the electric company with a power outage report when no such outage is occurring, and then blaming it on a super-intelligent housecat that has learned to operate my smartphone to perfection.

#6) I RESOLVE TO invite all my sports-nut friends over to watch the Super Bowl on my big screen, and then instead show them a rerun of the Doctor Who Christmas Special on an old analog TV I ripped off from a beachside motel just before its demolition.

#7) I RESOLVE TO invite all my enemies over to my place for a “kiss and make up” dinner, remove the toilet paper from every bathroom in my house, and then secretly serve them sushi that I purchased from the deli case in the gas station down the road.

#8) I RESOLVE TO use the word “testicular” at least three times at every public-hearing meeting held by the local town council.

#9) I RESOLVE TO go into a high-end car dealership at least one weekend a month, negotiate for an expensive, fully loaded vehicle, have the pen in hand to sign the deal … and then, without a word, simply get up and walk out.

#10) I RESOLVE TO walk into as many crowded college lecture halls during finals week across the country as I can, drop trou and enthusiastically yell, “My kingdom for some jalapeno pickle-relish and an overly seasoned Brätwurst!”

And finallyI RESOLVE TO spend every Sunday night of wintertime singing musical numbers from Rankin-Bass holiday specials while handing piping-hot mugs of Jameson-spiked hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows underneath each stall door to everyone “taking care of business” in the Port Authority bus terminal restroom.

Happy New Year from everyone at Potpourri of the Damned….

… which, of course, is just me.


© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

A Sip of Christmas Cheer?


by Joe Buonfiglio

So, this week’s holiday fare a la Potpourri of the Damned is another blog-vlog hybrid of the highest order.  And as always, no chestnuts were harmed in the making of this video.

Okay, that’s a lie.  It was a chestnut massacre around here.

Anyway, here in episode five of  my YouTube playlist series Have Yourself an Absurd Little Christmas, we get in a little LA Christmas celebration with a south of the border groove when this– Okay, it’s a cheesy novelty toy with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  Now that confession time is over, shoved deep into a stocking and flung into the crackling fire, have you ever wondered WHY a person would … as the Eagles put it … “do the crazy things that you do”?

My wife does not get why I do this.

My friends do not get why I do this.

My literary peers do not get why I do this.

Social media does not get why I do this.

Virtually NO ONE gets why I do this!

“That’s weird,” they say.  “It’s a waste of time,” they say.  “That’s absurd,” they say.

… and THAT is why I do this.



© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All videos/photos are © 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.


Bad, Bad, BAD SANTA!

by Joe Buonfiglio

Just in time for the holidays, my blog is more of a vlog this week in that it features an absurd holiday selection from my YouTube channel: “Bad, Bad, BAD SANTA!”

In episode four, celebrating Christmas in America has a WTF? moment; it’s a new side of Saint Nick that’ll make you want to set the old fat bastard on fire if you watch long enough.



© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All videos/photos are © 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.